Little movement in the Top 10, but the Cowboys find their way back in as the Colts step out to make room.
Further down, the Panthers make a move up, and the Steelers and Rams look to find their way out of the Bottom 10, while the Texans tumble.
Here’s how our analysts see the league after six weeks, and the cumulative rank (below) that comes of their ballots.
With the votes tallied, here’s how the list looks after Week 6: (last week’s rank and change in rank in parentheses)
1. Denver Broncos (1, 0)
Not as dominant a display as it might have been, but the expected win over the Jaguars did come and the Broncos march on, watching as the team trailing them in the ranks is picked off for the second week in a row. That’s five weeks at the top for Denver as they head to Indy for a weekend of Manning-Luck comparisons.
2. New Orleans Saints (2, 0)
Letting the teams behind them back into the conversation, the Saints dropped a heart-breaker to New England but avoid movement in the rankings for now. The second-tier bunch behind the Broncos is grouped tightly, and New Orleans will look on from the sidelines during their Week 7 bye to see if they get leap-frogged.
3. Seattle Seahawks (3, 0)
A familiar recipe led to a bounce-back win for the Seahawks: efficient QB play, determined running, and a strong D-line were too much for the Titans, and Seattle finds itself holding steady in the Top 3 as they’ve been all season. The two ‘other’ NFC West teams come calling next, with Arizona on Thursday Night the first task.
4. Green Bay Packers (5, +1)
With key injuries mounting, the Packers did just enough to get past Baltimore and end up swapping spots with KC here based on a decimal point advantage in the tally. They’ll need continued ‘next man up’ help if they’re to fend off the teams on the upswing behind them and stay a part of the Top 5.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4, -1)
The defense did it again in an ugly win over Oakland. Kansas City moved to 6-0 and kept pace with Denver in the AFC West, but at what point does Alex Smith’s impact prove too much to overcome? The fading Texans are next up for the Chiefs who look to keep hold of their place in the Top 5.
6. New England Patriots (6, 0)
The final drive washing out an otherwise up-and-down day for Brady and the Patriots, they stole a big win from the Saints. It didn’t force movement in the rankings, but certainly has New England looking up and ready to pounce back into the Top 5.
7. San Francisco 49ers (7, 0)
Now on a three-game winning run, the 49ers will work through the rest of the AFC South in the coming weeks. Showed signs of their old selves in the Week 6 win over Arizona and look to be past the early-season turmoil. They sit at No. 7 for the third straight week.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (9, +1)
Answering a late push by Buffalo to get the overtime win, Cincinnati avoided a hangover from their previous week’s work against New England. Nudging up a spot in the ranks, they’ll go to Detroit to face a team knocking on the door of the Top 10.
9. Dallas Cowboys (11, +2)
Finally back into the Top 10, Dallas has loitered around the edge of it since Week 1. The division win over Washington was a nice answer to the Denver game they couldn’t come away with the week before, though Romo took the opportunity to balance his remarkable play in that one with a down day this week.
10. Chicago Bears (10, 0)
Chicago got right with a Thursday Night win on the back of a near-perfect performance from Brandon Marshall. Their two-week slide is snapped and the Bears maintain their hold on No. 10 with a winnable game in Washington between them and a bye week.
11. Indianapolis Colts (8, -3)
A Monday Night loss to San Diego helped the Colts slip from the Top 10 after three weeks of holding a spot in it. With their offense slowed in this one, they’ll be looking for some major punch next week if they hope to keep pace with the visiting Broncos.
12. Detroit Lions (13, +1)
Racing back from a 17-7 hole, the Lions outpaced Cleveland in the second half to grab their fourth win, keep a share of the NFC North lead, and bump up one spot here. This being their highest rank of the year, Detroit has eyes on the Top 10.
13. Baltimore Ravens (12, -1)
Now 3-3 and unable to find rhythm, the Ravens slide one spot after their loss to the Packers. Despite the recent addition of Eugene Monroe, the O-line continues to be the worry they need to solve, especially with all three division opponents lined up next.
14. Miami Dolphins (14, 0)
No movement here after sitting out the week, but coming out of their bye, the Dolphins will face a Buffalo team that just pushed Cincy to overtime behind a call-up QB.
15t. San Diego Chargers (17, +2)
It’s been a crawl up the ranks over the past month, but San Diego has made positive moves in five of six weeks and now sit at their highest point to date. They’ll hope to follow their Monday Night win against Indy with a fruitful trip to take on the Jags before the bye.
15t. Tennessee Titans (15, 0)
Feeling good about their 3-1 start to the year, the Titans hit a stretch that saw them facing three of the league’s best and, with their loss to Seattle in Week 6, are now 0-2 in it with San Francisco looming. They hold here in the middle of the pack as their climb up from No. 28 has stalled.
17. Atlanta Falcons (18, +1)
It took a bye week (and a serious drive downward by Houston) to halt the Falcons’ recent 11-spot slide in the rankings. They’ll be back on the field to face the Bucs in what should be a telling Week 7 game.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (21, +3)
At the top of some significant shuffling in the next eight spots in the ranks, the Foles-led Eagles took down Tampa Bay on the strength of their ever-determined run game and a big day from Riley Cooper. This jump of three spots is their first move up since Week 1.
19. Carolina Panthers (23, +4)
In an efficient and effective effort, the Panthers marched past Minnesota without much trouble and saw their stock rise again to regain the four lost spots in the ranks from last week. With a St. Louis-Tampa Bay-Atlanta run on the way, can they string wins together for the first time this year?
20. Houston Texans (16, -4)
Falling like a stone, the Texans have dropped four straight and are looking less and less competitive as they go, with their flop against the Rams being testament. Having lost grip on 15 spots during their losing streak, the one-time Top-5 Texans have reached No. 20 and travel to Arrowhead in Week 7.
21. Cleveland Browns (19, -2)
After three straight weeks without a fall in the ranks, the Browns tumble two spots thanks to their collapse against Detroit where Weeden posted one of the week’s worst passing grades. Road trips to Green Bay and Kansas City sit on the horizon.
22. New York Jets (20, -2)
The Jets’ storyline stayed true in Week 6 as Geno Smith’s yo-yo season continued and the young, strong D-line shone. New York’s win-loss-win-loss dance has pulled them up from a starting point of No. 31 in these ranks, but they’re struggling to rise much higher than the low 20s.
23t. Pittsburgh Steelers (28, +5)
Reaching up to take one from the surprising Jets, Pittsburgh reverted to relying on Roethlisberger and found their first win in the process. Moving up to the top edge of the Bottom 10, they’ll return home for a matchup with the Ravens that won’t quite carry the buzz of years past.
23t. St. Louis Rams (27, +4)
The Rams see their biggest upward move of the season following their convincing win over the tumbling Texans. It wasn’t quite enough to pull them up out of the Bottom 10, but certainly a move in the right direction.
25. Arizona Cardinals (22, -3)
In the middle of the first of two back-to-backs this year with Seattle and San Francisco, the Cards find themselves dealing with familiar issues at quarterback and left tackle but put up a fight on D as they fell to the 49ers. A quick turnaround sees them home vs. Seattle on Thursday.
26. Buffalo Bills (25, -1)
A last-minute drive got them to overtime, but Thaddeus Lewis and the offense couldn’t keep it going once there and the Bills dropped their fourth of the year. Miami awaits before Buffalo sees the Saints and Chiefs in a rugged stretch.
27. Minnesota Vikings (24, -3)
Minnesota came out of the bye flat and fell to Carolina at home in a contest that really wasn’t one. A team that seems determined to land in the Bottom 5, it’ll be interesting to see how they manage the Giants next week… a team with firm hold on a spot in that group.
28. Oakland Raiders (25, -3)
Terrelle Pryor crashed back to Earth and the decimated O-line just couldn’t contend with Kansas City’s front as an early 7-0 lead turned into a 24-7 loss. They’ll have the week off to get healthy and prep for Pittsburgh.
29. Washington Redskins (29, 0)
A fourth loss in five tries and Washington still hasn’t found the answer to right the ship and return to last season’s form. Holding position here and facing Chicago and Denver in the coming weeks, the solution may not come soon.
30. New York Giants (30, 0)
Falling to 0-6 on the season, their most recent Super Bowl run feels like a distant memory. Found positives, though, in the play of newly acquired Jon Beason and rookie Justin Pugh. New York stays solidly a member of the Bottom 3.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31, 0)
A disaster of a day for the O-line led to constant pressure on their rookie QB who saw his numbers go through the floor with rushers in his face. Still winless, the Bucs haven’t budged from this spot since Week 3 and get a pair of division foes in the coming weeks.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32, 0)
With some positives to take from their loss at Denver, the Jaguars can point to moments of pride from a day where they were counted out before kickoff. It’s something to build on as they stay home for the next two weeks and welcome the Chargers and 49ers on long trips out from California.